Mount Molloy is home to one of the largest mown labyrinths in the Southern hemisphere. Quite a grand claim for something that is actually so intimate and local to our community.
Labyrinths are an ancient device for meditation and contemplation. They are, in a way, opposite to a maze, where the objective is to puzzle, confuse, and disorient. The idea of a labyrinth is to support a feeling of calm and serenity, allowing the mind to leave its cares aside while the path unfolds and entwines.
The Mount Molloy Labyrinth is the inspiration of Rupert Russell who announced, quite unexpectedly, at a JAMARR meeting in 2015: "Mount Molloy needs a labyrinth." He then proceeded to explain what he had in mind. Molloy has two large ovals, relics of the days when the village was frequently host to regional cricket competitions. The second oval, to the east of the oval visible behind the Vains Park tennis courts, has been largely unused in recent years. Rupert's first idea was to plant trees across the whole area, but this met with reluctance from Council and community.
The next idea was to create a labyrinth by selectively mowing the grass to two different heights. The walking path would be mown quite short, and the inter-path sward would be allowed to grow up to ankle/knee height...thus coaxing a pattern into the otherwise innocent turf.
JAMARR was given permission to establish the labyrinth and a group of friends organised the layout during the dry "wet" of early January in 2016. On 14 January JAMARR members received a rather jubilant post from Rupert:
Mount Molloy has a labyrinth ! Mareeba Shire has a labyrinth!
We have worked three evenings in succession and now all the marking-out has been done, plus three-quarters of the mowing is finished. Have had grand help from Julia , Peter, Lyn, TJ, Fred, Jim, Theresa and Juliana plus two guest performers Dick and Norton . . . . so we will not need any more volunteers, thanks very much.
I expect to finish the mowing soon and offer the suggestion that IF THE WEATHER STAYS DRY all who might like to take a look and a first walk on the labyrinth could come to the second oval for 5.30 pm on Sunday evening.
Here's what had been created...just after the first mowing in 2016:
For the record, the design is one of the more enduring forms, often referred to as a "Cretan" pattern (as opposed to a Chartres pattern). The path totals 800m one way and is laid out on a 7-circuit basis, covering over a hectare and visible to Google Earth from satellite!
The Labyrinth is officially listed in the International Labyrinth Society's Locator Directory, as well as in the Australian Labyrinth Link's locator. A social gathering is held annually to recognise World Labyrinth Day (WLD).
WLD in Molloy is a community event for which invitations go out through the JAMARR network of members and friends, so the afternoon is one of strolling together and happy chattering around a cuppa in the shade of handsome gum trees.
At other times the labyrinth offers an unspoken invitation to all who approach: a walk which requires no thinking about where to tread; a trustworthy circuit during which thinking may wander afar or settle into quietude. For those who choose to listen there will be birds singing, trees to lift the gaze, hills to inspire, and perhaps clouds to bless the earth.
Residents and visitors are welcome to enjoy a quiet stroll in the peace and beauty of this special place.